Closing Time
Oct 23, 2014

The Whitney's guards lock the front doors every evening at closing time, but on October 19, 2014, the routine resonated differently among staff and visitors. The Marcel Breuer-designed building on Madison Avenue at 75th Street has been the Whitney's home since 1966, when it moved there from West 54th Street. Over the past half-century, the building has served as the site of twenty Biennials, scores of temporary exhibitions, and countless public programs. Last Sunday was the Museum's final night in the space before it moves downtown to its new building, opening in spring 2015.

To say goodbye to the Breuer building—for now—the Whitney held a 36–hour viewing marathon that stretched through the final weekend of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective. At 10:50 pm on Sunday, clapping accompanied the closure of each gallery floor. Visitors moved toward the lobby, where they left notes for the future on self-addressed postcards which will be mailed to them this spring. The Museum's visitor services team gathered near the admissions desk and marked the exhibition's close—and its record-breaking attendance—with a toast. At 11 pm, guards Carlos Noboa and Douglas Burnham, who was celebrating the 38th anniversary of the date he was hired, shared the responsibility of locking up as fellow staff applauded.

Museum hours posted near the doors announce the 36–hour viewing marathon. Photograph by Keri Bronk

A visitor buys tickets on the Whitney's final night uptown. Photograph by Ed Lederman

Photograph by Ed Lederman

Douglas Burnham and Carlos Noboa close the doors at 11 pm. Douglas was celebrating the 38th anniversary of the date he was hired. Photograph by Ed Lederman

 

Whitney staff take photos as the doors are locked. Photograph by Sarah Meller

As part of the final weekend, the Museum invited visitors to fill out postcards with a note about the future. Photograph by Ed Lederman

Photograph by Sarah Meller

The self-addressed cards will be mailed to participants before the new building opens this spring. Photograph by Ed Lederman

Visitors exit at closing time. Photograph by Ed Lederman

Whitney guards gather as the doors are locked. Photograph by Sarah Meller

Whitney guards Carlos Noboa and Douglas Burnham. Photograph by Ed Lederman


Photograph by Ed Lederman